Via the New York Daily News, an unarmed black man was choked to death by police yesterday in Staten Island. The man in question was a “400-pound asthmatic Staten Island dad” named Eric Garner, who screamed over and over again “I can’t breathe!” as “at least five NYPD officers took him down in front of a Tompkinsville beauty supply store when he balked at being handcuffed.” Garner had a history of arrests for the crime of selling loose cigarettes (yes, you read that right) but didn’t appear to be doing anything at the time of his murder (yes, you read that right too). Police claim that he had been selling loosies, but none were found on him at the time of his death.
The News has video of Garner’s assault and death, and reports that the NYPD is already investigating the crime. Garner leaves behind a widow, six children and two grandchildren. Mayor de Blasio, who is about to leave for Italy with his family on vacation, tweeted, “On behalf of all New Yorkers, I extend my deepest condolences to the family of Eric Garner.” Garner’s wife says that an NYPD investigator admitted “wrongdoing,” but the department’s official spokesperson would only tell the News, that Garner “was being placed in custody, went into cardiac arrest and died.”
Watch the video for yourself. See how much of it you can take. It’s evidence of the almost unfathomable level of systemic brutality against black men in this society. How the cries of, “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!” can be ignored in favor of arresting someone for selling loose cigarettes is something that I will never understand. This is our NYPD. And don’t forget it.
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